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Philosophy Group in 2009
Last Meeting Notes
Philosophy archive

Anyone interested can dip into any of the following sessions:

1  Recap of the aims of philosophy and some previous topics.
2  Ayn Rand--objectivism and does man need values and why?
3  Karl Marx--the forgotten philosopher with the big impact.
4  Aristotle--he defined western thought.
5  Stanley Milgram--the perils of obedience.
6  Immanuel Kant--the most influencial philosopher of modern times.
7  John Dewey--pragmatism and how to find the truth.

Other topics to follow.

Topics covered by the group since its formation:-

Philosophy--its origins and objectives,
Jeremy Bentham--the greatest happiness principle,
Rights--where do they come and who is entitled to them?
Freedom--to do what?
Free will--is there such a thing?
Education--what is it, what is its purpose?
Réné Decartes--I am awake or dreaming and the proof of God,
Eugenics--origins, purpose and the morality issue, 
The ethics of a child sufering from Diamond Blackfan Anæmia
and the moral issues involved in the subsequent treatment.
Jean-Paul Sartre--Hell is other people,
A positive mental attitude.

The group met on Mon 30 Nov and the topic was Aristotle.  Aristotle is not just an essential figure in the evolution of Western thought--he defined it.  In his time he disussed 'every' subject available.  Today when we discuss topics such as monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies, democracies, republics, ethics, we are deeply influenced by Aristotle.  He asserted that nature works for a purpose or to fulfil and things develop into a recognizable form.  This is an approach to ethics that studies actions in relation to ends or utility.  Aristotle taught that to achieve the good life, one must live the balanced life and avoid excess.  This balance, he taught, varies among different persons and situations, and exists as a golden mean between two vices--one an excess and the other a deficiency.   The ladies were pleased to hear that he believed that a society cannot be happy unless women are happy too.  However their views changed when he commented that females could not be fully human.  Aristotle's analysis of procreation is that of an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive, lumpen female element stupidly content with a life regarded as intellectually empty and socially inferior.  I wonder how he would regard women today?

At our next meeting, 1 Feb, we will discuss Obedience in the context of inflicting pain and the concept of Conformity.

Liam Canavan